How do you choose to see things differently? How do you zoom in to see the intricacies of something and simultaneously zoom out to see the beauty of the whole?
You’ve seen Away 2 Be on Instagram and Facebook. We tout the ideals of presence and shifting perspective. We admire the notion of stepping back to see the whole picture, the whole person. We revere the philosophy of accompaniment. But how do we do it? How do we recognize the beauty of now and see the good in humanity when the world suffers from injustice and poverty, malice and hatred?
On Away 2 Be programs and in our workshops, we do an activity called “Zoom”*. We look at a picture up close and try to guess what it is. As each picture progresses, the same image zooms out. With each new image, we recognize our judgment is neither right nor wrong. We learn that each person, though seeing the same image, has a different impression of what it might be. We discover, upon finally seeing the whole image, that we still don’t have the complete story. And maybe we never will.
I recently visited Tippet Rise, an outdoor sculpture gallery in Montana. From Patrick Dougherty’s “Daydreams” to Alexander Calder’s “Two Discs”, each piece at Tippet Rise also verified that the whole is a collaboration of details and can been seen in a new way when we choose to step back. When I first approached “Daydreams”, I was so close that I only saw two windows. It wasn’t until I walked to the road that I noticed the windows were part of a house and the house, (a schoolhouse), was entangled by trees, emulating the desire for the child within to escape into his own creative mind.
As artists and philosophers, analysts and entrepreneurs, mothers and sons, we try to make sense of our world, yet we will never fully understand it. Photographers seek the perfect angle. Journalists choose questions to elicit truth. Painters dip their brushes into palettes of confusion, hoping their stroke resonates with the onlooker. Writers choose symbols yearning for meaning. Sculptors entice viewers to look at their works of art from different perspectives. Global leaders are always willing to listen, learn and change their minds. Travelers know that the destination will be enhanced by the journey. Regardless of our vocation, it is imperative to be a thought leader for others, to present an experience causing others to question their own perspective.
So how do we shift our perspective? How do we zoom in and out? How do we become the photographer that recognizes, despite the multitude of lenses in her pack, she will never be able to fully articulate that essential moment in her life? How do we look at the whole sculpture?
It’s simple. Here are 5 strategies to see things anew:
- 1. Choose to recognize how little we know and how much we will always have to learn.
- 2. Choose to ask questions and gain information through your experience instead of someone else’s.
- 3. Choose to take risks, be vulnerable and face fears.
- 4. Choose to be willing to change your mind.
- 5. Choose to step forward and back, left and right, zoom in and out, go upside down, until you have seen all angles and know you still don’t know it all.
Away 2 Be challenges you to be authentic, open-minded and present. We invite you to connect with yourself in order to make meaningful changes in the world around you. We hope you will join in us at home and abroad on one of our adventures!
Founder, Away 2 Be
(Proudly, a hopeless optimist)
*Zoom is an Away 2 Be activity inspired by Istvan Banyai’s book entitled, “Zoom“.